State Tennis: Area players advance in Class A tourney
MINNEAPOLIS--A trio of Litchfield tennis players extended their season with a chance for hardware Thursday at the Minnesota State Girls Tennis Tournament individual competition at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.
MINNEAPOLIS-A trio of Litchfield tennis players extended their season with a chance for hardware Thursday at the Minnesota State Girls Tennis Tournament individual competition at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center.
Shanna Kinny and Avery Stilwell, the No. 2 seed in the doubles tournament, advanced to the semifinals with a pair of straight-set victories and Elise Bierbaum, Litchfield's representative in the singles portion of the tournament, won convincingly in her opening two rounds, setting up a semifinal matchup with tournament-favorite Arlina Shen, of the Blake School.
Bierbaum, the tournament's No. 5 seed, will take on Shen at 8 a.m. Friday, the same time Kinny and Stilwell match up with Blake's Sonia Baig and Bella Suk.
Fellow Dragons Laney Huhner and Vaida Behnke lost their opening match to Audrey and Lydia Delich of Eveleth-Gilbert, the tournament's fourth seed, but rallied to win against Emma Borowicz and Catherine Tiedemann of Crookston in the consolation bracket to keep the fight alive. They'll take on Blake's Emily Melin and Caroline Cameron at 8 a.m.
Minnewaska was well-represented at the tournament as well, with Greta Reichmann and Alissa Thorfinnson on the doubles side and Danielle Thorfinnson on the singles side. Danielle Thorfinnson, the tournament's No. 3 seed, lost her opening round to Allison Jay of Blake, 7-5, 6-2, but topped Annandale's Jennah Groth 6-0, 6-4 in the consolation bracket. The Laker duo, meanwhile, won their opening round against Borowicz and Teidemann 6-1, 6-2, but fell to the sisters Delich 6-0, 6-4 to end their year.
Things went chalk in the doubles tournament, meaning Kinny and Stilwell will take on Baig and Suk, the three-seed, while Audrey and Lydia Delich will battle with top-ranked and defending state champions Clare Palen and Natalie Allison of Rochester Lourdes for a spot in the finals. It will be somewhat of a rematch for Stilwell, who lost to Suk at No. 3 singles in the team finals Wednesday afternoon. Stilwell controlled much of the match, leading 4-3 in the second set with one set in hand before Suk bounced back to win the set and eventually the tiebreaker.
Stilwell and Kinny saw their run cut short last year in the semifinals by eventual champions Palen and Allison but bounced back to beat top-ranked Abbie Nelson and Sophie Skallerud of Blake for a third-place medal.
Bierbaum will have her work cut out for her against Shen, a two-time runner-up in the individual tournament where she lost to a Blake teammate in each year. Bierbaum, meanwhile, won the consolation championship in 2017 after losing to Minnewaska's Danielle Thorfinnson in the opening round. She went on to win three matches in straight sets to take home the consolation championship.